There’s no doubt about it. Despite the continuing cold and, in places, snowy weather, Spring is definitely on its way. The sun feels that little bit warmer when it is out, the days noticeably longer and I can feel the sap of creativity and enthusiasm rising within, banishing the urge to curl up and hibernate. Death may be ever-present, but the dominance of his long shadow and confident stride are receding in the face of the breaking dawn of new life.
On Wednesday, I awoke to a beautiful morning which, like a new leaf, unfurled into an even more lovely day. The sun rose above eye-blinding level, the temperature reached double figures (just) and the still damp air smelled faintly of green rather than just must and decay. I took the opportunity to load up the trailer, assisted and hampered by the children in equal amounts, with most of the hairer bits of apple tree and take them to the dump for recycling.
It was sad to lose the old apple tree. Under the weight of last month’s snow, it had snapped clean through, apart from a narrow sliver of bark. So on Saturday, we had dismantled it as best we could and seperated it into useful wood and the twisted, hairy little twigs that would not be worth keeping. We judged it to be at least 70 years old, though won’t be sure until we get a good section of the remaining trunk to count the rings. Not a young tree then, but by Ent-ish standards still with many years of fruitful life in it. Gnarled and twisted, hairy with lichens, host to a small oak and a holly in its hollows, it never failed to provide a bumper crop of apples, often equally gnarled and alien life-supporting. And it had a heart…formed by the fungal life it also hosted and that occasionally manifested itself in the form of a huge growth. In the heart of the remaining trunk, we found….
That we found it on the eve of Valentine’s day also seemed apposite and somehow encouraging. The garden is still full of death and decay, but the bulbs are coming through and soon we will be battling to control the verdant jungle again.
More than just plant life is sprouting again though and I find myself full of new creative enthusiasm. I have been playing with photographic images and creating a new fan page on facebook for my work as well. You can find it here